A Running Gait Analysis can be such a great tool to assess and tweak your form, identify muscular and soft tissue weakness or dysfunction, and really... get you running your best. Research identifies that there are certain aspects of running technique that will improve or decrease your running economy (Moore, SportsMedicine, Jan 2016).
It's tricky to identify the above factors yourself! Now, some people I've spoken to, have commented, "yeah, I did one of those before, and it wasn't that awesome". I get it. Depending on where you go, and, more importantly WHO does the assessment, results and information can be inconsistent. I want to unpackage for you what a Running Gait Analysis looks like here at GRIT Performance, done by a Sport Physiotherapist.
1. Medical/Injury/Sport History - before we even get going, it's imperative to start with past or persistent injuries that have occurred and possible resulting musculoskeletal changes. I also want to know what your training looks like now. How many miles are you putting in? What are you feeling? Where are you wanting to go as far as goals and performance? This will give us a good idea of what to look for during the run analysis, and where I need to get you to.
2. Functional Movement Exam - A specific set of assessment exercises to test your strength and mobility, as well as screen for possible areas of vulnerability and potential injury.
3. Video Running Form - Now I'll get you running. After a short warm up and video recording, we'll analyze together your running pattern including foot contact point, weight displacement, cadence, hip and pelvic movement, and range of motion. It's here where we get into the nitty gritty... AND... make real-time changes. Together we'll play around with technique and form. What WON'T happen: that I"ll completely overhaul your running style. This is probably the biggest mistake with run gait analysis. You're not going to leave the clinic running like an Olympic marathoner. Sorry. What WILL happen, is that we'll dial in on a few changes you can focus on to improve your speed, performance, and decrease chance of injury.
4. Running Shoe Assessment - There's a lot of research out there about running shoes. I'll take a look at yours -after looking at how you actually run - and make some recommendations that fit your style of running.
5. Take Home Program - After the appointment, you will be e-mailed a specific set of strengthening exercises tailored to you and your assessment findings. A summary of what I found during the gait analysis and a few points to ponder as you move forward in your training. Also included in the e-mail is 3 running shoe recommendations that would work for you, your feet, and your form.
6. Followup assessment - After 4-6 weeks of making changes I like to follow up and reassess how things are going, how your gait is changing and address any questions you may have.
There you have it. Running Gait Analysis Unpackaged. Remember also that this service is covered under your Extended Health Insurance Benefits for Physiotherapy. Bonus!
Here's to happy, healthy running!